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Happiness is a positive state of mind experienced by different people in different ways. For many people, it is an ideal state of existence and they may build their lives, goals and careers based on what makes them happy. But apart from the feeling of contentment is there anything else happiness has to offer? Some studies have found that this mental state of well-being could have a large impact on our physical health as well. It is important to note that several other studies have found that being healthy impacts state of mind and not the other way around. But what we know for sure is that the two are most definitely correlated. You can read on to find out how your happiness may affect your health.
1. A Happier Mind Could Indicate A Happier Heart
Some studies indicate that a positive mind could impact the heart favorably by controlling blood pressure and preventing
coronary heart disease. A study published in The European Heart Journal examined the association between happiness and coronary heart disease in a sample group of 1739 adults. The study reported: “increased positive affect was protective against 10-year incident CHD, suggesting that preventive strategies may be enhanced not only by reducing depressive symptoms but also by increasing positive affect.” Apart from research that suggests happiness helps in preventing heart disease, there are also some studies that suggest that happiness may help people who are already suffering from heart conditions. It is essential to note that there is a limited amount of evidence and that further research is needed.
2. Being Positive May Change The Way We Perceive Pain
A study authored by Ivonne-M. Berges found: “High positive affect at discharge from inpatient medical rehabilitation was associated with lower pain ratings three months post discharge after controlling for pain and negative affect at discharge and clinical and demographic characteristics.”
There are several studies that indicate a reduction in pain in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis as a result of a positive and happier attitude. Studies claim that the reduction in pain may be a result of positive thoughts changing an individual’s perception of pain. A positive attitude may even help increase chances of survival in extreme conditions as it enables people to have a broader outlook than when negative thinking is involved.
3. Positive Outlook May Help Reduce Stress
Studies have found that thinking positively releases chemicals in the brain that causes a reduction is stress and anxiety. It decreases cortisol levels and increases serotonin production which also allows your brain to function with higher productivity. A reduction in stress levels might also lead to improved sleep patterns and better body metabolism which are factors that contribute to one’s physical health in the long run.
4. A Happier Mind Could Indicate A Longer Lifespan
Studies have found that happiness in many cases depend on the social relations and socioeconomic conditions of the individual. The studies found that when these conditions among several others are good, individuals tend to be happier and live longer. A study authored by Elizabeth M. Lawrence says, “Compared to very happy people, the risk of death over the follow-up period is 6% higher among those who are pretty happy and 14% higher among those who are not happy, even after controlling for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and lifestyle-related factors.”
5. Happiness May Help Improve Our Immune System
According to a 2003 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine authored by Cohen S, “The tendency to experience positive emotions was associated with greater resistance to objectively verifiable colds.” Some studies have also found that people who are highly stressed have lower resistance and may fall sick more often.